Colombo Caves & Kandy Festival - 8 days

FROM USD $2,149

See the best of central Sri Lanka on this all-encompassing tour and join in the festivities of the exhilarating Kandy Festival aka Esala Perahera or The Festival of the Sacred Tooth. Spanning ten days, the annual Buddhist celebration sees the easy-going hill city burst into a vibrant display of dance, music and colourful costumes, plus don’t forget the one hundred strong parade of lavishly decorated elephants.

Day 1: Colombo
Saturday 2nd August. Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport and transferred to our beach front hotel in Wattala, a small town just north of Colombo. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight - Wattala
Day 2: Polonnaruwa
Wattala - Polonnaruwa - Giritale. Today we head inland to Polonnaruwa. On the way we stop by one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples, the Dambulla Rock Temple. This stunning complex of 5 caves contains over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock. After exploring this ancient site we continue on to Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight - Giritale (B)
Colombo Caves & Kandy Festival - 8 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Sri Lanka Tours: Sri Lanka's famous Kandy Festival.
Day 3: The Kandy Festival!
Giritale - Sigiriya – Kandy. This morning we head to Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.

Once we’ve fully explored the rock we continue on to a spice garden. Here we learn about some of Sri Lanka’s famous spices, how they are grown and what they are used in. You’ll also have the opportunity to buy some.

Later we drive further south to Kandy for the spectacular Kandy Festival. For ten consecutive days every year this laid back Sri Lankan hill city erupts into a whirlwind of colour and activity. Dancers in colourful silk costumes and over one hundred ornately decorated elephants parade through the streets backed by the rhythm of beating drums. There is also fire twirling, cracking of whips, cane dancing, fire walking and other cultural dances. The pageant commences at the golden Temple of the Tooth, alleged to house a tooth of Buddha, and in a public display that dates back to 310 AD a replica of the revered relic is paraded through the city in a golden casket by the chief elephant. Spend the evening joining in the revelry of this exhilarating Buddhist festival. Overnight - Kandy (B)
Sri Lanka Tours: Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
This morning we visit an elephant orphanage where we meet some of the 89 abandoned elephants, many of which are babies. On the way back to Kandy we stop by the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens home to an amazing variety of plants, flowers and trees. Once back in Kandy itself we take a city tour, drive around the lake and visit local bazaars and a gem museum. Later on this evening we visit the world famous Temple of the Tooth, which plays an important role in the Kandy Festival that will be continuing its celebrations in the evening. Overnight - Kandy (B)
Day 5: Nuwara Eliya
Kandy - Nuwera Eliya. After breakfast we visit a tea plantation. Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest exports and they are very proud of it. Learn about the manufacturing process and how they grade it before enjoying a delicious cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. Next we drive to Nuwara Eliya, the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country and home to the country’s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala. Later on we embark on a sightseeing tour of the area including a drive through ‘Little England’. Overnight - Nuwara Eliya (B)
Sri Lanka Tours: Udawale National Park.
Day 6: Udawalawe NP
Nuwara Eliya - Embilipitiya. Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. This national park is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, the biggest of all the Asian Elephants. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and lots of types of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to the hotel for the night. Overnight - Udawalawe N.P. and Embilipitiya (B)
Sri Lanka Tours: Sri Lanka's capital Colombo.
Embilipitiya - Wattala. We begin our final journey back to Colombo this morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems in the world.

After we check in to the hotel in Wattala we head into the bustling city of Colombo for an informative city tour. Explore the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. Take a stroll along Galle Face Green and watch locals play cricket plus head over to stunning Gangarama Temple Overnight - Wattala (B)
Day 8: Colombo
Saturday 9th August. Our tour comes to an end this morning, with a transfer back to Colombo airport for your flight home.

Kandy Festival Images courtesy of Sri Lanka Tourism (B)

Buddha & Beach

Extend your stay at the beach! If you want to extend your holiday and enjoy some rest and relaxation on Sri Lanka's beautiful coast, take a look at our 15 day Buddha and Beach itinerary.
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Colombo / Ends in: Colombo
  • Departs: 2nd August 2014
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:7, Lunch: 0, Dinner: 0
  • Hotel Rating: 3 - 4 star
  • Tour Guide: Yes
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